Top of the Heap

October 24 – November 15th, 2009 – Extended by popular demand!

Music by Jeffrey Lodin
Book and Lyrics by William Squier

toth_postcardfront_web
Illustration by Michael C. Malbrough

Producer: Heather Siobhan Curran/The Gallery Players
Director: Neal J. Freeman
Music Director: Lilli Wosk
Choreographer: Katharine Pettit
Set Designer: Ann Bartek
Associate Set Designer/Props Master: Elyse Handelman
Costume Designer: Megan Q. Dudley
Assistant Costume Designer: Tracy Klein
Lighting Designer: Tsubasa Kamei
Video Designer/Supervisor: Nicholas Meyer
Production Stage Manager: Caitlin Orr
Assistant Stage Manager: Janice Acevedo
Assistant Director: Allison Bressi

TOH_0190w
Pictured (l to r): Kenny Wade Marshall and David Perlman in The Gallery Players’ production of Top of the Heap. Photo by Jen Maufrais Kelly.

The Cast

Ronny Mauro – Kenny Wade Marshall*
Gil Webster – David Perlman*
Elsa Orwell – Anette Michelle Sanders*
Meryl Dean – Hollis Scarborough*
Coochie Kovack – Lorinne Lampert*
Edgar Callahan – James Andrew Walsh*
Harmon Laybourne – Greg Horton*
Sidney – Ray Bendana*
Joey/Ensemble – Roy Flores
Phyllis/Ensemble – Tina Marie Casamento*
Ensemble – Josh Bates, Ronn Burton, John Cardenas, Kristin Farrell*, Carolyn Hartvigsen, Natasha Soto-Albors*
*appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

It’s New York City, 1955. The Brooklyn Dodgers are about to square off with the Yankees in a World Series that will net “dem bums” their first title in fifty-five years. So, T.V.’s most popular variety program, ‘Top of the Heap,’ is headed to Brooklyn for a live, remote broadcast tied into the Series. A struggling pair of nightclub comics see this as a chance to bluff their way out of the dives where they perform and into television. But, they soon discover just how high a price they’ll have to pay. Top of the Heap features a timeless jazz-inflected score with music by Jeffrey Lodin and book and lyrics by William Squier. The Stamford Advocate called Top of the Heap, “A gritty musical that takes a look at the darker side of showbiz.”

Listen to the Broadway Bullet podcast featuring lyricist/bookwriter William Squier, composer Jeffrey Lodin, and director Neal J. Freeman, including performances of three songs from the show.

TOH_0321w
Pictured: Kenny Wade Marshall and the cast of The Gallery Players’ production of Top of the Heap. Photo by Jen Maufrais Kelly.

Top of the Heap is directed by The Gallery Players’ Executive Director, Neal J. Freeman (Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Gallery Players; Ensemble Studio Theatre; Sonnet Rep): “Directing Top of the Heap at The Gallery Players is a special privilege for me. As a Brooklyn-based artist, it is easy for me to identify with the struggle of the two leads against the odds to make something special happen for themselves in their home borough. As I walk to rehearsal every day, I imagine the characters working and living on a street just like ours some 50 years ago, and it is both humbling and exhilarating to step into the theater and help to bring the story to life on our stage. I read the piece before listening to it and was immediately captured by the elegance of the story telling. Hearing the wonderfully unique and jazzy score sealed the deal. I knew this was a piece I wanted to direct.”

“Not for nothing is William Squier and Jeffey Lodin’s musical comedy titled “Top of the Heap.” -Rockford Register Star

“A gritty musical that takes a look at the darker side of showbiz.”- The Stamford Advocate

TOH_0095w
Pictured (l to r): Kenny Wade Marshall and Anette Michelle Sanders in The Gallery Players’ production of Top of the Heap. Photo by Jen Maufrais Kelly.

Performance Schedule
Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 PM – Opening night
Sunday, October 25 at 3:00 PM – matinee
Thursday, October 29 at 8:00 PM
Friday, October 30 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 31 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 1 at 3:00 PM – matinee
Thursday, November 5 at 8:00 PM
Friday, November 6 at 8:00 PM
Saturday, November 7 at 2:00 PM – matinee, TALKBACK WITH AUTHORS
Saturday, November 7 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 8 at 3:00 PM – matinee

Added performances:
Thursday, November 12 at 8:00 PM
Friday, November 13 at 8:00 PM – ALUMNI NIGHT
Saturday, November 14 at 2:00 PM – matinee
Saturday, November 14 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, November 15 at 3:00 PM – final performance

Jeffrey Lodin’s (Music) scores include: Young Abe Lincoln (Theatreworks USA, book/lyrics: John Allen-Promenade Theatre and U.S. Tour in 1994-1995, Disney’s Doug Live! (Walt Disney World, lyrics: W. Squier), About Face (BMI, Dramatist’s Guild, NAMT 08, book/lyrics: David Arthur), 100 Years into the Heart (Village Theater 07 Festival of New Musicals, Spirit of Broadway, NYMF 04, book: Richard Vetere, Lyrics: W. Squier), Rebels 1775 (Starlight Theatre, Spirit of Broadway, book: J. Allen, Mana Allen, W. Squier, lyrics: W. Squier, J. Allen), Nice People (book/lyrics: Tony Tanner), Naughty Girl (CAP21, book/lyrics: Scott Hayes, co-music: Christopher Seppe). Currently working on Blindsided By A Diaper (book: Dana Hilmer & W. Squier, lyrics: W. Squier). His songs appear on television: P.B.&J. Otter; film: Doug’s First Movie; the International Children’s Festival (lyrics: W. Squier); cd: A Celebration of Life (lyrics: D. Arthur; vocals: Randy Graff & Judy Kuhn). Recent Music Direction credits include the world premieres of Glimmerglass (Cohen/Drachman/Bolt), Love, Inc. (Marc Castle) and Liberty, the Musical (Goldstein/Goldstein). He has conducted for Chita Rivera and the late great Greg Burge, and played piano for Andy Gibb and Mongo Santamaria, amongst others. He was awarded a 2004 Meet the Composer Grant by the New England Foundation for the Arts. Jeff is a proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild.

William Squier (Book & Lyrics) is an Emmy Award winner (WKYC-TV’s Unusual Phenomenon) whose plays and musicals have appeared Off-Bway: The Treatment of Doctor Love (Playhouse 91); Off-Off Bway: G-Man (Nat Horne Theatre), Babalu (Sanford Meisner, music/co-lyrics: J. Goldstein); Walt Disney World: Disney’s Doug Live! (music: J. Lodin); regionally: Boywonder (Contemporary Arts, Depot Theatre), 100 Years into the Heart (Village Theater 07 Festival of New Musicals, Spirit of Broadway Theatre, NYMF 04, book: R. Vetere, music: J. Lodin), The Klemperers’ New Clothes (Actors’ Playhouse, LA Festival of New American Musicals, music: N. Weiss), Rebels 1775 (Starlight Theatre, Spirit of Broadway, co-book: J. Allen, M. Allen, music: J. Lodin), Route 66 (Kansas City Crossroads Festival 06, Village Theater 09 Festival of New Musicals, co-book: J. Goldstein, music: F. Stark), The 3 Scrooges (Curtain Call, Ingersoll Theatre, licensed by Miracle of 2 Productions, music/co-book: J. Goldstein) and most recently Blindsided By A Diaper (book: Dana Hilmer, music: J. Lodin); television: It’s the Weekend (ABC, music: J. Goldstein), P.B.&J. Otter (Disney Channel, music: J. Lodin); film: Doug’s First Movie (music: J. Lodin); in workshop: ASCAP/Disney Musical Theater Workshop (CA, FL & NY) among others. He received a 2003 Connecticut Artist Fellowship, grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, the Coleman A. Jennings Award, Jackie White Memorial Award and 11th Annual National Children’s Festival’s new script award. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and BMI.

Production History/Acknowledgements

jeffandbill

Jeffrey Lodin and William Squier began writing Top of the Heap in the Tony-Honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. The musical was further developed via readings at the Broadway Theater Institute, Collaborative Arts Project 21, the Dramatist’s Guild Musical Theatre Workshop, New American Theater’s New Voices in the Heartland Festival (Rockford, IL), Theater Building Chicago and York Theater Company. It was first fully staged at Curtain Call, Inc., (Stamford, CT) in 2004. Top of the Heap was one of the winners of the 2006 Global Search for New Musicals and presented at the Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theater. It spent five weeks in 2007 at the Spirit of Broadway Theater (Norwich, CT). While the musical was in performance at SBT, it was also given the National Music Theater Network’s ‘Director’s Choice’ Award and performed at the New York Musical Theater Festival.